AKC Meet the Breeds NYC 2013:
A first-timer's experience at the pug dog booth!

at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City
Report from Judith Pepin

Busy from the start

"Are they good family pets?" "Do they snore?" "Do they like kids?" Do they shed?" Yes, Yes, Yes and YES! My 2 days as a first-timer at AKC Meet the Breeds NYC 2013 were the most fun I have ever spent with my pug Bella. Throughout the 2 days I laughed as I heard squeals of joy. . . The pugs, the pugs, there are the pugs," as people approached our booth. "They are so cute" "May I pet them?" "Can I take a picture with them?" I don’t think Bella has ever had so many photo ops.

Talking about Pugs

Overall, AKC Meet the Breeds presented By Pet Partners, Inc (a leading pet healthcare provider) is the largest showcase of cats and dogs in the world and featured more than 200 dog and cat breeds at NYC’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. This fifth annual weekend event was created in order to encourage pet lovers and prospective new pet owners to get up close and personal with many dog and cat breeds, many presented in booths decorated to depict their country of origin and/or history of the breed. Visitors were encouraged to interact with the dogs, cats, puppies and kittens and learn about their history and unique attributes as family pets, show animals and service/therapy pets directly from knowledgeable breeders from the American Kennel Club (AKC) national breed clubs, The International Cat Association (TICA) and pet owners themselves. Most importantly, visitors had the opportunity to ask questions about these animals to help identify the best breed for their lifestyle and how to best care for them.

crowds at ringside demonstrationIn addition, visitors to the event could take advantage of the many dog and cat festivities taking place including top experts in pet-related fields such as training, breeding, and grooming. Demonstration rings showed the fine points of agility (including a sweet elder adult pug!), rally, law enforcement K-9s in action and felines strutting down the catwalk in the Haute Kitty CATure fashion show! Further, AKC Community Canine, the new advanced level of Canine Good Citizen was offered for the first time at this event. A big hit were also the 70+ vendor booths to obtain samples of new treats and foods, learn about training methods and proper nutrition guideline for the breeds, as well as purchasing items like bling-y leashes, collars and bedding to spoil the pets who share our lives. I know a spent a good amount of time purchasing just the right accessories for my princess pug!

sleepy, so sleeeeepy
20,000 visitors were expected each day (Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29, 2013) and I'd be willing to wager that nearly all of them crowded by the pug booth to get a glimpse and touch these wonderful dogs! Children and adults alike seemed to be enchanted by the pug's sweetness and likeability. By the end of each day, the pugs, and their owners were ready for a well-earned nap!

Robert Gravel and his wife Karen Marenco set up the booth area on Friday with a wonderful banner depicting the history of the pug. Many people were amazed to learn how old the breed actually is and that its origins go back to ancient China. I had created a quilt showing a pug of the present looking back to the past at Kousa Dogwood blossoms and 2 pug dogs sitting in front of a Chinese pagoda. Our décor also included red Chinese silk and a Chinese dragon.

Volunteers hard at work

On Saturday, Robert and Karen's pugs, Giselle, Chaka and Jovi, showed the visitors what pros they were at wooing the pug-loving crowd and just ate up all the attention while making time to say hello to newbie Bella! Bella took it all in stride for several hours until the sandman finally caught up with her and she did her little pug circle round and round then settling in my arms for a well-deserved snooze! Al and Jackie Hofer's little 6-month old boy was ready with youthful exuberance all day and was ready for action whenever a pug-lover came near for a closer look. All of us were busy talking to pug-lovers and interested pet owners about the playful personality of these companion dogs and their outgoing, loving dispositions.

Bella working too
After the event on Saturday, Bella and I walked back to our hotel (a mere 3 blocks away), meeting pug-lovers all along the way. We met some young Gen Y-ers having cocktails at an alfresco café as she ran up to them wanting to share some of her exuberance at being a pug! Of course pictures ensued…who can resist a pug? I must also tell you she's been a registered therapy dog for the past 4 years (at hospitals, nursing facilities, schools and libraries) and no matter how exhausted she is, she is never too tired to make new friends and put a smile on their face!

Sunday saw Karen and Rob and their beautiful girls Raindrop and Mimi. Again, their dogs were pros at meeting the public! They both took it in stride welcoming their adoring fans. Of course Bella and I were there and we were joined by Ann Marie Maenza and her dog Stryker, a wonderful example of the breed in both appearance and temperament! There appeared to be even more people this day, if that were possible, but Bella and I took a break to visit many of the other breed and vendor booths and watched the agility dogs being put through their paces and Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilites showing how they provide independence and mobility to people with disabilities.

We can't say thank you enough to our volunteers

Overall, AKC Meet the Breeds NYC 2013 was an experience Bella and I will not soon forget!

See this page for the 2012 Meet The Breed article